By Katherine Stone
I felt like I’d gone back in time to the War of 1812 when I arrived in the lovely village of Sacket’s Harbor, NY to review the new Jeanneau 349 with Navy Point Yacht Sales President, Steve McPherson. Unlike that fateful time when the British “sneak attack” on the Americans was bamboozled by the lack of wind, we had a beautiful sunny day with a nice southwest breeze.
Winning the 2014 Customer Choice award for the Best Monohull over 30’ at the Miami Boat Show (determined by the attendees) has certainly helped to set the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 up for success! With over 70 boats already sold and two in production every day, Jeanneau certainly thinks so too. This modern, high performance hull with its large, light interior, easy handling, and attractive price makes it a winner in my books too for this entry-level family cruiser.
Much thought, good planning, and research has gone into this craft giving you a sense of “large and light”. Marc Lombard and the designers at Jeanneau were able to do this using positive sheer line allowing for greater standing headroom (6’3”) with a high deck line, yet it doesn’t look out of proportion; instead, it actually provides the boat with great racy lines.
Going below, the companionway’s shallow angle stairs (designed for safety) cover the long-term favourite, Yanmar 20HP diesel engine, which is very accessible, with the water pump (most likely to be replaced) at the front. All berths are designed to accommodate 6’5” family members. The V-berth opens into the main salon with large, double doors which, when opened, make the entire boat appear more like a 40+ footer.
The boat is available in different configurations to suit individuals’ wants and needs. With the three-cabin option, there are mirror-image double/queen quarterberths. The two-cabin option has a same berth to starboard and but you gain a shower stall to port. The latter option is now available in North America and offers what I think is one of the best forward thinking “heads” on the market.
The shower (with drying rack) is tucked in aft of the head and is separated with hinged plexiglass doors – brilliant – so the entire head doesn’t get wet. The aft wall of the shower is a door that opens into a full depth storage/sail locker and single berth. Both aft berths have hatches that open into the cockpit (under the cockpit benches) for easy access, natural light, and ventilation. A smile came to my face as I had visions of my two children enjoying their “fort” with a secret entryway – so cool!
Albeit modest, the galley is adequate, with two-burner stove/oven, sink, top-entry fridge and a microwave; the design allows for plenty of compartmentalized storage. The slate-effect countertop provides a high-quality finish to the food prep area making it feel like home. The double fold-down table seats six large adults very comfortably. Storage behind the bench-style seating is partitioned halfway down so that stored items from the top or bottom are not lost in the abyss. The mast reinforcing post does not interfere with the use of the table, as it is positioned as far forward as possible. The navigation table completes the salon on the port side, allowing the navigator to face aft and speak with guests in the cockpit. Another bright innovation is that the nav table folds up vertically when not in use allowing easy movement around the cabin. LED lighting is found throughout the cabin, which means that only the instruments really draw on the battery power.
The unbelievably large cockpit is another improvement that will sell you on this boat – both for entertaining and comfort cruising. Both main and jib sheets run aft to self-tailing Harken winches at the wheels, allowing the skipper to trim the sails leaving no extra lines on the cockpit floor to trip on or uncomfortable to lean against. The drop-down swim platform that forms the transom of the boat lets the kids get in and out of the water independently and creates more storage space for fenders and dock lines. The production team has also tried to make the boat as maintenance-free as possible by installing synthetic, wood grain toe rails. Another dual fold-down table in the cockpit is perfect for alfresco dining for six. To make this an actual cruising boat in North America, the forward winless comes standard.
The appearance of a truly wide cockpit is accentuated by having no backstay and clean looking decks. To accommodate this, the spreaders are swept back 30 degrees, rather than the standard 12 degrees and the shrouds are moved further outboard. A beautiful innovation born out of the America’s Cup boats is that both main and jib sheets run through friction rings that eliminate turning blocks; the double-ended main sheet runs through a bridle system that eliminates a traveler and further cleans up the deck. The 106% roller-furling jib makes life a dream with sails made by Ulmer in France. The optional bowsprit and code zero sail are well worth adding to make downwind sailing more pleasurable.
Probably the two features that I enjoyed the most were the ability to see where I was going without asking crew to move or look for other boats. Being vertically challenged, I often find it difficult to see the water and oncoming traffic without moving from side to side. With a nice 15-knot breeze with gusts up to 20 and some big rollers, the boat was very nicely balanced and easy to drive. To add to that, the twin rudders and wheels made me feel like I was driving a high performance cruising boat; docking was truly easy, responsive, and enjoyable. To me this is a great asset for members of your family who are uncomfortable bringing a larger boat into the dock.
The base price in Canada comes to under $155,000. Steve McPherson, president of Navy Point Marine, has a two-cabin model in the water at Sacket’s Harbor, NY in the Thousand Islands ready and waiting for you to “test-drive” and decide for yourself. Somehow I think that you’ll agree with the rest of the people at the Miami Boat Show – this boat is a real winner.
Length Overall 33’11″/10.34 m
Hull Length 32’8″/9.97 m
Hull Beam 11’3″/3.44 m
Light Displacement 11773 lbs./ 5340 kg
Standard Keel Draught 6’5″/1.98 m
Fuel Capacity 34 US gal./130 L
Water Capacity 54 US gal./206 L
Cabins Two or Three
Motor 21HP CV/15 Kw
Total Standard Sail Area 55.3 m²/595 ft².
Base Price $155,000
Photo 1 – The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 won the 2014 Customer Choice award for the Best Monohull over 30’ at the Miami Boat Show.
Photo 2 – The drop down nav table stows away to free up saloon space.
Photo 3 – There is a sense of “large and light” in the ‘349, achieved by Marc Lombard and the designers at Jeanneau through a positive sheer line and a high deck line.
Photo 4 – The slate-effect counter top provides a high quality finish to the food prep area making it feel like home.
Photo 5 – This may be one of the best forward thinking “heads” on the market as the shower with a drying rack, is tucked in aft of the head and separated with hinged plexiglass doors.